Wow. Another twist in the case against Rebecca O’Donnell, the woman accused of murdering former state Sen. Linda Collins: New charges were filed today in Jackson County, alleging that while locked up in county jail on the Collins charges, she attempted to hire someone to kill Collins’ ex-husband, Phil Smith.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed today, O’Donnell approached four different inmates locked up with her about murdering Smith and making the death look like a suicide. She allegedly wrote up a fake suicide note for the job. According to the affidavit, she also spoke with inmates about murdering Smith’s wife, a prosecutor, and a judge; she also allegedly looked into hiring inmates to travel to the Randolph County Jail, where her 2005 Honda Civic is being held, and “blow it up to destroy any evidence that may be in the vehicle,” according the affidavit.
More from the affidavit, based upon interviews conducted by the state police with inmates that Collins spoke with: According to one inmate approached by O’Donnell, “the wife of Phil Smith (Mary Smith) is also supposed to be killed. She stated that she is supposed to shoot or hang Mr. Smith causing his death and then she is supposed to pack a bag so it looks like Mary was in the process of leaving Mr. Smith.” The inmate was told that “Mr. Smith is supposed to have gold and silver in his home and she is supposed to take the gold and silver as payment for killing Mr. Smith.”
Another inmate said that O’Donnell approached her about killing Randolph County Judge Harold Erwin and Henry Boyce (then the prosecutor on the Linda Collins murder case, before he recused last month) in addition to Phil Smith, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also alleges that Emily Loggains, the daughter of O’Donnell’s fiancé, attempted to help bail out one of the inmates that O’Donnell recruited in the alleged murder plot. The inmate allegedly gave her cellphone to Loggains when Loggains visited the jail in November, in order to use the contacts to find someone to bail her out. Jail logs confirm that Loggains visited the jail on the day this exchange allegedly took place, the affidavit states.
O’Donnell, a close friend and former campaign aide to Collins, pleaded not guilty in July to charges of capital murder of Collins, abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence. Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty, with the trial set to begin in October.
No court date has yet been set for the new charges of criminal solicitation to commit capital murder and criminal solicitation to commit tampering of physical evidence.
p.s. Just speculation here, but could this explain why Boyce recused himself from the case in December? No explanation for the recusal has been given. Now O’Donnell is alleged to have plotted to murder him.